The Man who dreamed of Faeryland
Yeats, William Butler. W. B. Yeats: Selected Poetry: 19-20. Ed. by A. Norman Jeffares. London: Macmillan, 1968.
1He stood among a crowd at Dromahair;
2His heart hung all upon a silken dress,
3And he had known at last some tenderness,
4Before earth took him to her stony care;
5But when a man poured fish into a pile,
6It seemed they raised their little silver heads,
7And sang what gold morning or evening sheds
8Upon a woven world-forgotten isle
9Where people love beside the ravelled seas;
10That Time can never mar a lover's vows
11Under that woven changeless roof of boughs:
12The singing shook him out of his new ease.
13He wandered by the sands of Lissadell;
14His mind ran all on money cares and fears,
15And he had known at last some prudent years
16Before they heaped his grave under the hill;
17But while he passed before a plashy place,
18A lug-worm with its grey and muddy mouth
19Sang that somewhere to north or west or south
20There dwelt a gay, exulting, gentle race
21Under the golden or the silver skies;
22That if a dancer stayed his hungry foot
23It seemed the sun and moon were in the fruit:
24And at that singing he was no more wise.
25He mused beside the well of Scanavin,
26He mused upon his mockers: without fail
27His sudden vengeance were a country tale,
28When earthy night had drunk his body in;
29But one small knot-grass growing by the pool
30Sang where - unnecessary cruel voice -
31Old silence bids its chosen race rejoice,
32Whatever ravelled waters rise and fall
33Or stormy silver fret the gold of day,
34And midnight there enfold them like a fleece
35And lover there by lover be at peace.
36The tale drove his fine angry mood away.
37He slept under the hill of Lugnagall;
38And might have known at last unhaunted sleep
39Under that cold and vapour-turbaned steep,
40Now that the earth had taken man and all:
41Did not the worms that spired about his bones
42proclaim with that unwearied, reedy cry
43That God has laid His fingers on the sky,
44That from those fingers glittering summer runs
45Upon the dancer by the dreamless wave.
46Why should those lovers that no lovers miss
47Dream, until God burn Nature with a kiss?
48The man has found no comfort in the grave.
Publication Start Year:
The Rose, 1893.
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh